Canada to purchase additional 20 million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

Henrietta Brewer
January 14, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday Ottawa was exercising the option under its contract with Pfizer to purchase another 20 million doses. However it notes there can be exceptions, particularly when vaccine supplies are so hard to come by and the spread of the virus in a given jurisdiction is rapid. On Dec. 23, it approved a second vaccine from Moderna.

Quebec has made a decision to delay administering second doses to patients and has instead chosen to give a first dose to as many people as possible.

Although J&J's clinical trial protocols allowed for an early look at the data after 20 people became infected by the novel coronavirus, the company intends to deliver data on at least 154 confirmed cases - the target needed to fully assess the vaccine's efficacy - when it releases results.

Ontario officials now say that they'll soon be able to dispense 35,000 shots per day but will only have enough vaccine to administer half that many doses.

"Nationally, the average case count is now over 8,100 new cases being reported daily over the past week, with a still increasing number of people experiencing severe illness", Tam said.

Quebec is facing a lawsuit from at least a dozen residents in a Montreal-area long-term care home because they didn't get their second dose on time as promised.

Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, said last week determining the effectiveness of the vaccines after the first dose is hard because most of the patients involved got the second dose on time.

"The likelihood that we can now translate this into humans in our Phase III study hopefully is very high", he said, adding, "We'll see in a few weeks". "So, you know, it's kind of a back-of-the-envelope calculation".

While the federal government has sent doses of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to distribution sites across the country, each province and territory is responsible for its own vaccine rollout.

But that data is based only one or two weeks of monitoring before the second dose was given, and there is nearly no data to show whether that immunity began to wane at any point.

"Switzerland has played a critical role in Moderna's history since our early days and it means a lot to us that we can now provide a highly effective vaccine to help protect the citizens of Switzerland".

Johnson & Johnson is on track to roll out its single-shot coronavirus vaccine in March, and plans to have clear data on how effective it is by the end of this month or early February, the USA healthcare company's chief scientific officer said.

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